UPDATE 3-Whirlpool profit misses forecasts on Asia, Latam weakness
(Adds comments from CEO interview, details on U.S. weather impact, updates share movement)
By James B. Kelleher
April 25 (Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp on Friday reported first-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations as currency and other headwinds in Latin America and Asia offset modest sales increases in North America and Europe.
The world's largest maker of home appliances also said brutal winter weather in the United States not only kept consumers out showrooms but disrupted shipments from its factories in the Midwest, costing it between $10 million and $20 million.
The news sent the company's shares down as much as 3.6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, although the stock had almost recovered by the afternoon.
Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fettig told Reuters he remained "very bullish on the U.S. recovery" despite a slew of disappointing reports in recent weeks on new home sales, housing starts and building permits.
The new-housing and resale markets account for 25 percent to 30 percent of U.S. home appliance demand, according to Whirlpool.
Fettig said that while the company's U.S. sales had suffered in January and February because of the weather, they snapped back in March and continued to rebound in April.
Whirlpool reported a first-quarter net profit of $160 million, or $2.02 per share, down from $252 million, or $3.12 a share, a year earlier. Continuación...